If people were putting off unneeded care, this information would not be concerning. But, because we generally don’t know what care we need and must rely on our doctors, we should assume that a large number of people in the U.S. are not receiving needed care because they deem it unaffordable. More than 10 million more Americans have health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act. But, health insurance coverage has become less comprehensive in the last several years, leaving people to pay huge medical bills on top of their premiums. So, it’s not surprising that 34 percent of Americans with private insurance have put off care.
Medicare protects people from unpredictable out-of-pocket costs better than other insurance by allowing people to have supplemental coverage and to budget for their care. With supplemental coverage, you generally have no coinsurance and pay no deductibles. As a result, a far smaller percentage of people with Medicare (22 percent) say that they forego care because of cost. The big problem with Medicare is that it does not cover most dental, vision or hearing care, nor does it cover long-term services and supports, all of which can be very costly.
No matter the type of insurance, income has a big role to play in whether people get care. The Gallup poll determined that 38 percent of people earning between $30,000 and $74,999 put off care because of the cost. A far smaller percentage, 28 percent of people earning $75,000 or more, put off care because of cost.